Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are a safe and easy to maintain way to prevent pregnancy. They are slowly growing in popularity in the United States right now, so many women have questions about which IUD they should be using. Family planners and doctors are using and recommending two IUDs in particular right now: Mirena and ParaGard.
Which one is right for you? Let’s first take a look at what these two IUDs have in common.
Mirena and ParaGard Both Provide These Benefits
Mireana and ParaGard are both very effective at what they do. It’s one of the most effective methods of birth control outside of 100% abstinence or having a surgery to permanently prevent pregnancy. They are able to be used for a year or more without taking pills or shots and work for most women. This includes women who haven’t had their first child.
Both IUDs also have these features in common.
1. They are very small.
Both Mirena and ParaGard are shaped like a small T. It’s about the size of a small MP3 player and most women don’t even feel that it has been implanted.
2. They are affordable.
Most health insurance plans will cover these IUDs. Some family planning clinics also offer them for free. It is also cheaper than many forms of birth control and it’s definitely cheaper than having an unintended pregnancy.
3. They install quickly.
It only takes about a minute for an IUD to be placed. Many women compare the feeling to that of a pap smear.
It is important to note that an IUD will not prevent a sexually transmitted disease or infection. Only condoms have this ability. No matter which one you choose, the outcome is generally the same. Women have a long-term method of birth control that is highly reliable.
Why Choose Mirena?
The primary benefit of choosing Mirena is that it doesn’t contain any estrogen. For women who are used to the hormonal changes that occur with a birth control pill, the relief of not having the swings is incredible during the first month. Mirena is powered by progesterone and it acts within the uterus only so there aren’t whole body side effects. A properly installed IUD from Mirena can last for up to 5 years.
Mirena does take some time to begin working. For many women, it is about 90-180 days. During this adjustment period, there may be frequent periods of light bleeding that occur. Sometimes the IUD may shift, but this is generally when it hasn’t been properly placed. The periods can become unpredictable during this time as well, but after 6 months, Mirena generally stops a period altogether.
If the periods do not stop, then they become lighter and more regular and have less pain. For women who might worry they are pregnant if they don’t have their period monthly, then ParaGard may be a better choice.
Why Choose ParaGard?
ParaGard will initially cause periods that are long, heavy, or involve heavy levels of cramping. Like Mirena, it may take up to 180 days for ParaGard to begin having its full effect. When it does happen, the periods will return to a more normal state and pattern. It isn’t suitable for women who have a lack of iron in their blood.
ParaGard may last for up to 12 years after being implanted. It works thanks to a copper filament that has been wrapped around the device. There are no hormones involved at all with this IUD and is recognized as the only highly effective method of birth control that doesn’t use hormones in any way.
Which Is Right For You?
If you’re considering Mirena or ParaGard, then speak with your doctor today about what the best options may be for you. Women who are already having difficult periods will want to opt for Mirena because ParaGard will enhance flow and cramps for the first 3-6 months. Women who want a very long-term solution, however, may wish to consider ParaGard first, especially if they have hormonal sensitivities.
The cost of one of these IUDs may be as high as $1,000 up front. It must be inserted by a medical professional.
Women who have never had a baby are at the greatest risk of having an IUD slip out and potentially cause an infection. All women may have a medical professional improperly place an IUD and have it push through the uterine wall to cause other potential health problems.
Only you and your doctor together can decide which product is suitable for your health. Use this guide to create questions to ask your doctor today so that you can take care of your birth control needs in the most effective way possible.
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